20 February 2011

The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature

Well, a new project...

I've just signed a contract to compile a new Oxford Companion to Children's Literature. Many of you will know the original volume, by Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Pritchard, which OUP published back in 1984 and is long overdue an overhaul.

The original OCCL is a great book - very broad, very opinionated; it's a reference book, but far from being purely about conveying information it also takes a quite critical look at its subject; and with only two writers having put together the whole thing (Carpenter and Pritchard didn't assemble work by hundreds of contributors, they wrote the whole lot themselves) it's also got a distinctive voice.

My book will be taking the original volume as a starting-point, cutting parts of it away, updating some of it, and writing probably about eighty thousand new words. It's a big job. The daunting part, however, isn't the scale (I've done many reference books before), but the scope. Because it's not just about English children's books, but should have good coverage of other English-language work. Oh, and a bit about everything else, too. At least five hundred brand new entries - a teen novelist from Australia, a popular picture-book character from the US, an entry on folk tales from Greece, on Manga, on the Charlie and Lola TV animation, on children's publishing in Mexico, writing for young adults about sexuality, picture-book apps for the iPhone, Anthea Bell and Lemony Snicket, along with armoured bears and daemons and Dust. Books from Austria and Israel and Turkey and India.

The initial fun part, of course, is drawing up the list of what/who goes in. But first I have an awful lot to learn...

(Sounds fun, tho', doesn't it?)



Library Mice said...

Sounds absolutely brilliant! Congratulations! I look forward to seeing the finished product!

Read Aloud Dad said...

Lovely.. This guides are worth their weight in gold to parents.

Hope you keep us updated on progress.

Read Aloud Dad